If my mother could see me now . . .


I learned most of my cooking skills from my mother.  Well, actually, I learned what NOT to do.  She wasn’t exactly the best cook, nor did she particularly need to be a good cook.  She was a smart, warm, loving woman who could sing like an angel and had the heart of gold.  It happens a lot.  I will be somewhere and someone will say, “Are you Ruth Bennett’s daughter?”  When I gladly admit it they recall some warm, sweet memory of her.  It is a beautiful thing.


I made a beautiful, wonderfully old fashioned pound cake tonight for my dear friend Vanessa’s birthday.  I work with her–so at lunch tomorrow my bestie, Lori Gray and I are serving dessert at lunch.  Pound cake with raspberries and whip cream, yum.

Now pound cake is fairly easy, but like most recipes there are always a few tricks.

In general my best cooking tips include:

  • Measure out all your ingredients and have them ready to go before you start the assembly of the ingredients.  It reduces stress and mistakes!
  • Read through the entire recipe so there are no surprises; and this one which made me think of my mother (see it does all tie together)
  • Follow the directions step by step (Don’t just throw all the ingredients in the bowl and let the mixer rip!)
  • Clean up as you go along.  Tonight I made sure my dishwasher was empty so when I added an ingredient and waited for it to mix, I’d rinse the container of the ingredient and threw it in the dishwasher.

My mother preferred a clean kitchen and often told me I was not “neat” in the kitchen.  My oldest daughter, Emily, use to love to experiment with her friend Andy in the kitchen.  No counter was left untouched, every pan in the kitchen was used and most of the ingredients were substitutions or just made up.  Most recipes were left with the mess for me to clean up–sometimes taking days.  (How did this 1/2 cup of sugar get spilled in the utensil drawer.)  My youngest daughter, Claire, didn’t recognize what a kitchen was until her early 20’s.  By the way, both of my daughters are excellent cooks now.

Oh how I ramble, but here is the pound cake recipe:

Old Fashioned Pound Cake

1 lb. (4 sticks) butter

2 cups sugar

9 eggs seperated

4 cups of all-purpose flour

1 Tablespoon baking powder (fresh!–not one that has been in your cupboard for over a year!)

1 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon vanilla

1 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon of almond flavor (optional)


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2.  Prepare a bundt pan or angel food cake pan by lightly spraying it with cooking spray.

3.  In a large bowl and mixer, cream the butter until it is light and fluffy.  It will turn a paler yellow (4 minutes or so)  Slowly add sugar until it is incorporated.

4.  Add egg yolks one at a time, mix in and add next until all are added.

5.  The dry ingredients should be placed in a medium bowl and whisked.

6.  The milk and flavorings should be mixed together in another bowl.

7.  Add 1/3 of wet and 1/3 of dry ingredients, alternating until they are both in the bowl.

8.  In a separate bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until they form a stiff peak.  Fold into the other ingredients until incorporated.

9.  Pour evenly into the cake pan, tapping the pan to smooth and even it out.

10. Bake for 1 hour or until a cake tester or wooden skewer comes out clean.

11.  Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes.  Turn out on wire rack and let it completely cook.

This rich cake serves 20 people.  It is moist and delicious and good on it’s on or served with berries and whip cream.

POUND CAKE      My house smells amazing right now.

Comment to me some of your best cooking tips!